Over 40% of Austrian Airlines’ fleet will be back in the skies by the end of July, according to the carrier. The airline is slowly waking up its fleet following almost three months grounded, during which all scheduled passenger operations were suspended. Following the suspension, Austrian Airlines returned to the skies on June 15th.
Having experienced its darkest day in mid-April, the Aviation industry is continuing to show signs of a healthy rebound. As part of this, we’ve seen airlines across Europe ramping up services. The Lufthansa Group, of which Austrian Airlines is a part, has been no exception to this, despite its grim outlook on when the crisis will finally be over.
36 planes in the air
Austrian Airlines has plans to operate services with 36 aircraft by the end of July. According to Planespotters, the airline currently has a fleet of 85 aircraft. However, this figure includes several older aircraft being retired due to the pandemic, such as three of the airlines 767s. These three aircraft are some of the oldest in the entire Lufthansa Group.
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Austrian Airlines is methodical when it comes to scheduling aircraft for its return to service, as would be expected by any large carrier. Rather than just shoving any aircraft on a route, the airline is relaunching operations with its smaller aircraft such as the Airbus A319, Embraer 195, and Dash 8.
The advantage of using these smaller aircraft is that fewer passengers are needed to reach the capacity where break-even is achieved on the flights. However, where these aircraft don’t have the appropriate range, the airline will be using its widebody aircraft, such as its three remaining Boeing 767s.
Most popular travel season
Austrian Airlines is aware that summer is its most popular travel season. The airline is relaunching routes in line with expected demand. As such, it will serve more than 50 destinations in July. The airline said that city and holiday destinations have the highest demand.
Demand is beginning to return. This is shown by the fact that the airline has scheduled multiple daily connections to some destinations. For example, the airline has three daily flights to Zurich, another Lufthansa Group hub. Additionally, Paris, Brussels, and Hamburg, among others, have twice daily connections.
€600 million bailout
Earlier in June, it was announced that Austrian Airlines would get a €600 million bailout that will come from three sources. The airline will receive €150 million in direct state aid. €150 million will come as an injection of equity capital from Lufthansa. Finally, the remaining €300 million will come from bank loans to be repaid by 2026.
However, as part of the bailout deal, the Austrian government is introducing rules that could stifle low-cost carriers. A new minimum fare will be added alongside a regulation that tickets can’t be sold for less than cost. Potentially, this could start to raise some social barriers to fly to and from Austria. However, it could also benefit Austrian Airlines.
Will you be flying on Austrian Airlines in the coming months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!